A craftsman's ramblings on making art, food, love and adventure

Month: February, 2013

Brand-aid

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Things are heating up at Roaring Dog Studio! I would imagine that there are not many dogs held in such high regard that they have been immortalized in a brand….even fewer celebrated as a brand-brand!

Check out our multi talented craftswoman Lori Holmes…or Curly Cherry as we like to call her (mostly behind her back)….as she works out on our new branding iron. Roaring Dog is getting ready to launch a whole new batch of products in the next couple of weeks and our snazzy logo will be proudly displayed on each.

I showed Fiona the real Roaring Dog these pics and…yawn…she was most unimpressed…tough audience!

Goats, Books and TV

I have a quirky collection of Blogs that I subscribe to and try to read most days. As a ‘maker of things‘ I am always interested in like minded folks. One that I have been reading for a while is ‘the art of doing stuff‘ written by this precocious Canadian named Karen. She is terminally irreverent and writing mostly for women…how and why I got involved remains a mystery…although Carolyn does on occasion suggest that I have a bit of estrogen flowing through my blood stream. As a hairy 260lb man this is potentially not a pretty picture but so far the side effects have been mostly positive.

Last year Karen posted a blog maligning a small but apparently deviant segment of society that does not own a TV. I am sure if she knew that her loyal closeted blog reader and writer here was a ‘no TV deviant’ she would have been nicer…maybe. I still like Karen and I also still have no TV….

So…what are a couple of empty nesters to do without a remote to share? We are relearning to read…out loud to each other. We don’t curl up in one another’s laps…remember the 260 lb. hairy guy from paragraph one…but we do listen and enjoy.

So where to the goats come in you ask? We are just finishing up a book recommended to me by my uber-literary mother called ‘Goat Song’ by Brad Kessler. We have been lusting for a goat or two of our own but are desperately looking for distractions like this book to sate us before we end up adding to our menagerie with our typical reckless abandon. This book helps in the self restraint world…no bucolic jaunt down the path of barnyard idealism here and…a tough read. The last book we read out loud together was ‘a dirty life’ by Kristen Kimball which we enjoyed without reservation.

Tonight Carolyn is off delivering a baby and I am wishing our dogs could read to me!

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A Remarkable Sunday

While our brothers and sisters in New England took the brunt of Nemo’s fury…we in central New York had a proper 8″-10″ snow storm…just enough to leave our landscape looking lovely and inviting. We awoke this Sunday morning to a warming sun and for a couple aging hippies who live in a home both heated and energized by these rays this is special gift.

Our friend and gifted artist Tara Hogan (the creator of the Roaring Dog brand) had asked me to take some photographs of our home Wagmore to share with a stylist friend of hers. Apparently Tara thinks our handmade house might prove interesting to folks outside of our immediate world. There is not much in this house that we did not create ourselves often with reclaimed materials saved from the landfills of America.

Here is a small sampling of today’s camera exercises. If anything strikes a cord of curiosity…feel free to ask.

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Gratitude List

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I so want the last thought for today to be a grateful one. Every couple of weeks I have to remove myself from the often creative work of our shops to make a blood sacrifice at the alter of Quickbooks. This is the dark side of small business… taxes… insurance… payroll… purchasing… inventory… cash flow. Carolyn calls this part of the job ‘soul-sucking’…a perfect description.

Last Sunday our son Ben and his girl Erin (who is also part of Team Roaring Dog) came for an early dinner. I caught this picture of them from our living room window strolling back from a visit with the geese and ducks at the pond’s edge. The dogs were very happy to see them and we had another of our many Sunday dinners together.

I am grateful for moments like this and truth be told my life is filled with an overabundance of them. I need to make a gratitude list in my mind…maybe even on paper…a persistent reminder to keep the dark side at arms length.

I so want the last thought for today to be a grateful one…

‘The Soul of a Tree’

“Each tree, every part of each tree, has only one perfect use. How to acquire logs and what to do with them calls for creative skill. There is need always to select and to search, even to look underground where the most fantastic grains can often be found.”  George Nakashima

I have been a woodworker for most of my adult life. Early on this path I was blessed to encounter a show featuring the work of George Nakashima who also was a woodworker for most of his life until his passing in 1990. That was a seminal moment for my evolving design sensibilities and from that point forward, there has been no stronger influence in the art and craft of my work.

Much of the work from Roaring Dog Studios evolves in similar ways to that of Nakashima Studio. The following photographs illustrate a journey from log to finished piece. The logs seen here are remnants from the veneer industry, short offcuts from the ends of logs in the final sizing before processing into veneer. Inside each log is a unique personality and it is our goal to celebrate this ‘Soul of a Tree’ by creating something uniquely beautiful to live on for generations.

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